Newsletter: Essential Politics: Democratic unity event sets up intense few weeks in politics


I’m Christina Bellantoni. This is Essential Politics, and we’re gearing up for what’s sure to be a jam-packed few weeks of political news.

For starters, the Democrats are now unified.

Tuesday found a Democratic presidential primary once again ending in New Hampshire. Eight years ago, it was Hillary Clinton throwing her support to Barack Obama. On Tuesday, Clinton was on the receiving end as Bernie Sanders delivered his long-awaited endorsement.


During the speech, Sanders reframed many of the areas where he disagreed with Clinton. For example, he touted her push to increase the minimum wage, even though he criticized her during the primary for not wanting to raise it enough.

And as David Lauter reports from Portsmouth, N.H., the blessing from her rival greatly diminishes one of the dangers that has hovered over Clinton’s campaign — the risk that large numbers of Sanders supporters would desert her in the fall. The positive moment opens the way for a nominating convention later this month that can showcase party unity, in likely contrast to the GOP convention that begins next week, he writes.

Chris Megerian reports that Clinton’s campaign wasted no time in trying to monetize the endorsement. Her team quickly sent out requests for donations of $27, the average contribution to Sanders campaign.

And Seema Mehta talked to Sanders delegates, many of whom are still struggling with the idea of Clinton.

We’re on VP watch and tracking events on the campaign trail, so keep an eye on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics.



Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) made a surprising endorsement in the race over a San Bernardino Assembly seat, throwing his weight behind Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino).

Melanie Mason and Christine Mai-Duc scoop that the endorsement comes even after Brown was one of several business-aligned Democrats who helped thwart a key provision of De Leon’s climate change bill last year. It also revealed fractures in the top echelons of the Senate leadership, given Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) endorsed Brown’s opponent, Democrat Eloise Reyes, early in the primary season.


Donald Trump is expected to raise $4 million at a San Diego County fundraiser with 50 people today. Joshua Stewart of the San Diego Union Tribune talked with developer Doug Manchester, one of the lead organizers of the event, who told him the presumptive Republican nominee would focus his remarks on the economy.

“His whole message is free trade, fair trade, whatever it is. But it’s summed up in two words: good deals,” Manchester said.

The Rancho Santa Fe fundraiser is also being organized by Jenny Craig of the eponymous diet empire and Madeleine Pickens, the owner of Del Mar Country Club and the ex-wife of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens. The cheapest ticket to the fundraiser was $25,000, but donors were asked to contribute as much as $449,400 apiece. As we’ve reported, Trump also plans to attend a fundraiser in Bel-Air on his Southern California swing.



Cap and trade, the premier program in California’s bid to combat climate change and finance the bullet train, has been beset by political, legal and financial problems in recent months, and the program’s future should be the premier debate when lawmakers return for the final month of the legislative term in August.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration released a plan designed to extend the life of cap and trade even if lawmakers don’t act. The document, Liam Dillon reports, should be seen as an insurance policy if new legislation doesn’t pass, albeit one with weaker legal standing.

Meanwhile, a new study released Tuesday found California’s push to develop more renewable energy, including solar and wind power, is creating well-paying jobs that are concentrated in economically distressed parts of the state.

De León and Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) said the study is evidence that the state needs to continue to pursue its ambitious goal to have 50% of energy come from renewable sources by 2030.


— Republican lawmakers Tuesday lambasted Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch over her refusal to discuss the details of the Justice Department’s recent decision not to prosecute Clinton for using a private email server as secretary of State.


— Trump called Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent comments about the election a “disgrace.”

— Trump declined an invitation to speak at an NAACP event.

— The New York man who pleaded guilty to making a false 911 report about Torrance Rep. Ted Lieu in 2013 was sentenced to two years in prison. Sarah Wire talked with Lieu about the experience he called “traumatic” for himself and his wife.

— The Union-Tribune’s Lauryn Schroeder took a close look at donation exchanges between San Diego Rep. Scott Peters and his family, and the families of other congressional candidates. The apparently legal trade-offs allowed more money to flow to each campaign than might be allowed under contribution limits.

— The U.S. House approved a resolution Tuesday supporting Los Angeles’ bid to host the 2024 Olympics.

— Who will win the November election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.


— I’ll be chatting with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday as the Los Angeles Times presents a discussion on energy policy. There’s still time to RSVP for the day-long summit.


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